The Karst area, or Carso in Italian, is a particular plateau full of the characteristic white limestone some 300 meters above Trieste. Rich vegetation, red soil, small villages, more than 2000 caves, plentiful of walking and biking tracks, excellent wine, cheese and honey, more than 50 osmizze (explained below), beautiful views of the Gulf of Trieste, this is really a pleasant area to explore for some days.
And the fascinating Trieste is very near. To add to your active program, we have organized a cooking class and a painting course.
Accommodation is in a comfortable hotel in a village on the Carso. This is a tour where you will walk, go by e-bike, so you will use your body, however the excursions are not physically demanding.
The Carso area is famous for its caves. On the Italian side is the Grotta Gigante, entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest visitable cave. Also on the Slovenian side, there are impressive grottes, listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Starting in the Middle Ages, the plateau was to a large degree deforested. Much of the wooden poles upon which is built Venice, came from Carso. A reforestation has been done but today only one third of the area is covered by forests.
The soil is red, the vegetation is rich with plentiful of flowers and herbs during the spring and summer. In the autumn, the Carso is colored deep red and yellow by the omnipresent ‘Sommaco’ bush. During the First World War, Italian and Austrian troops fought fierce battles on Carso. People on the Carso are mostly Slovene speaking.
The "Osmizze" are farm houses that twice per year are authorized to keep open for some weeks and sell their products such as ham, cheese and wine. Along the roads can be seen a red, wooden arrow ; when an osmizze is open, a branch with green leaves are hanging under the arrow, to signal that guests are welcome. To go to an osmizze is among the favourite things to do for people in Trieste, with a group of friends, perhaps bringing a guitar, glasses of the local red or white wine, raw ham, a boiled egg, some cheese, singing into the sunset.
On Carso are local enjoyable wine, and also wines among the very best in Italy. There are also excellent cheese made here, from goat and from cow milk. A local honey maker has several times been coronated as making the best honey in Italy. It is fascinating to hear him explain how he is educating the bees, so he can make different types of honey.
There are important stone mines on Carso, some being active since the time of the Romans.
We will do our best to let you discover all that Carso has to offer, and to use it as we locals are doing.
Beyond the good food and wine, why visit Trieste and the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region? The small healthy region in the north-east of Italy is well-organized and has all that the country has to offer: short distances, sea, mountains, hills, historic villages, rich culture. And, it is free from the overcrowded mass-tourism that you will suffer in many other places. A new area to be discovered and enjoyed. Trieste is Italy’s most cosmopolitan, multi-cultural and newest city; it only became part of Italy in 1954. A perfect base to discover also Istria in Croatia, Slovenia and Venice.
There will be one of us, your ‘local friend’, sharing with you what we like to do and let you experience what the ‘do-it-yourself’ traveller most probably will not find on his/her own. Taking due account of each season. We are sure you will want to come back to this area, many times!
The tour exists in two versions, one defined departure dates were the group is composed of you and other individuals or small groups, or if you are some more people we can make a proposal for the period you prefer and where your group decides on how many stars the hotels should have.
We reserve the right to cancel the tour on a fixed date if the significant number of participants is not reached.
You are invited to arrive to the airport in the morning or at midday. Transfer from the airport. Check in and welcome by ‘your local friend’. In nearby Lipica is the stud farm from where are coming the famous white horses of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Dinner in the hotel.
After breakfast, you will e-bike to the Grotta Gigante that in 1995 entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest visitable cave, large enough to room St. Peter’s Church in Rome. We will visit the atelier of a local artist working with the local stones from the Carso. Then time for a local aperitivo and lunch in a wine bar. We continue on the e-bikes on the panoramic Napoleonica path, overlooking the Trieste Gulf. In the Prosecco village area, visit to an osmizze. On the way back to the hotel, visit to a honey maker. Biked distance approximately 35 km, no major hills.
In the evening a cooking class in the hotel. The dinner will therefore be what you prepare together.
After breakfast, transfer to Trieste. Be As A Local has developed a special guided tour in collaboration with a local historian. A cultural walk.
The tour lasts 3 hour and will cover The Roman Trieste, The Imperial Trieste of the 1700 and the Habsburg Dynasty. Napoleon occupying the city three times. Trieste at the start of the 19th century and the First World War. Trieste during the Cold War as a ‘spy theatre’. Like Berlin an area split and under international military governance for nine years. The central jeans market-place for Eastern Europe.
Trieste, having been made a free port by the Austrian Hungarian Emperor, which it still is, grew into a prosperous multi-ethnic dynamic city, Italy’s most cosmopolitan city.
Lunch in one of the several historic cafés of Trieste, local specialities menu. We will tell you the story about Trieste and coffee, have coffee tasting and cake tasting.
Afternoon free. You may choose to explore the offers of the FVG card you are proved with, giving free or discounted entry to many places. For the dinner, you are free to choose among the more than 700 locals in or close to Trieste. We will of course guide you in your choice. Return to the hotel by taxi.
After breakfast, visit to the Castle of Duino and walking the 1,7 km panoramic Rilke cliff walk. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote his famous Elegies during his visits to the Castle.
Lunch in an ‘agroturismo’ in the village of Prepotto. This village hosts three of the best winemakers in Italy, we will visit one. Tasting. There is also a very good cheese made in Prepotto, the jamar, made deep into a cave. Tasting.
Return to Trieste for your painting course, in the atelier of the Venezian painter Roberto del Frate, that since many years live in Trieste. He will introduce you to painting with acrylics. After three hours or so, to your surprise, even if you have never painted before, you will have finished you first painting. If you are with some experience, you will benefit from the tips and hints of the maestro. Transport to the hotel.
Dinner at the hotel.
Time to say “Ciao! A la prossima!” to Trieste. Transfer to the airport.
A valid passport. A valid health insurance coverage. Comfortable clothes and walking shoes, suitable for walking and biking on the paths on Carso.
Participants must be able to use a bike and to walk about 600 steps inside the visited cave.
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